Condo Blues: Blitzkrieg: Forever in Our Hearts

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blitzkrieg: Forever in Our Hearts

Blitzkrieg lost the war we waged on canine cancer last week. When I try to write about it, all the words and nothing come to mind. 

My page is blank. 

The cursor blinks at me. 


Husband wrote this tribute about Blitzkrieg’s life and our love for him. I cannot find better words than his to describe our boy, his journey, and our heartache. 


I need to explain this because not everyone will completely understand our sadness right now.

Many people who have known Blitzkrieg will understand this, but some will not. But that's okay. It's unusual to experience this much loss over a pet. I just hope I can explain this in a way that will make it easier to understand our grief.

Blitzkrieg was not just a beloved pet. Nor was he just a "family member".

Blitzkrieg was a soul we rescued from darkness.

When we got him, he was an abused dog with one eye. He was fearful and nervous. If you understand dogs, their demeanor and their body language, you could tell that he was stressed out all the time. And he was not happy. He was not capable of being happy. He only understood punishment and escape.

After years of working with him, he came to be trusting, happy, a goofball, and a truly loving companion. He was happy. We loved him and he loved us.

When the end was near we held on for as long as we could, perhaps longer than some might have thought we should have. But this was not just because we weren't ready to let him go. It was because he wasn't ready to leave us. He held out for us as long as he could, and even when his eye was closed over, when he wasn't able to do all the things he used to do, he greeted us each morning with affection, happily taking food from our hands and giving us his affectionate "head butts,” lingering at our side for pets.

The literature tells us that dogs don't know what they're going through when they're dying; that they struggle on because they don't know there is any alternative. Blitzkrieg simply didn't act like that. This dog always broke all the rules, and in the end he seemed to know what was going on and seemed determined to squeeze out as much life and time with us as we could. He was stubborn, and he was the dog we taught him to be: determined to meet each challenge on his own terms, and loving to the end. He had taught us to think differently about dogs, in his final days no less than in the life he lived.

There will come a time when we have another dog in our home. It will be a rescue dog. It will be another troubled creature that someone else had abandoned because he or she was not convenient. When that dog is in our home and in our lives, we will be able to point to that massive picture of Blitzkrieg's face (that little camera hound) in our living room and say, "This is the reason we are able to be for you what we are. Because this guy taught us where a dog can come from, and what he can become. And he taught us what we are capable of. It is a gift we will always have to pay forward, and a love we must always share for any troubled dog that just needs a chance and a loving home. Because no dog is hopeless. They just haven't found the right humans yet."

Blitzkrieg, I can never tell you how much I will miss you. You were the smartest dog I have ever known. You had more personality than any dog I had ever met. Right now there is a big empty hole in my heart, and I know you left it there for some lucky, deserving, lost little dog to fill. But there will never be another like you, and we will always cherish your memory. I am bereft. I celebrate the love you taught us that we will pass on to every other lost soul that we can. We are better pet owners, and better people, for having you in our lives. And I pray that Rainbow Bridge is more than just some sentimental poem to make grieving pet owners feel better. Because I will treasure the day when we can see you again, with two good eyes, a furiously wagging tail, and a goofy bark, letting us know that somewhere, out there, there are other dogs peeing outside.

I love you, my friend. Rest in peace. I hope I will see you again someday.

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